After visiting a friend, I was trying to find my way out of a large hospital, from the top floor to the main entrance. The first elevator only took me part way. A hospital employee directed me to another set of elevators. As I walked, I overheard a man, clearly agitated, also ask for directions. I told him to come with me, we’d find our way together.
He was an older man with a long, unkept beard. He wore old clothes – a baggy fleece jacket, flannel shirt, t-shirt, jeans and old shoes. He was carrying a white plastic bag with items inside. Yes, he was definitely agitated, his eyes darting around and his brows drawn tightly down.
I said something to make small talk while we waited for the next elevator. His darting eyes then focused on me, and looking me straight in the eyes, he told me he just lost his son. “Oh, sir, I’m so sorry,” I said as I put my hand on his arm. He went on to say that “it happened on Thursday and they pulled the plug today.”
By this time a few other people were waiting with us. I shared that the man had just lost his son. Another man offered condolences and asked how the son died. Attempted suicide.
Then the father’s agitation turned to anger and he told us that no one had come to see his son. Only his sister and her family had come to Charlotte to be with them. Then he pointed upward and said at least now I know my son is ok and he’ll be up there.
“I’m glad you had time with him,” I said. Yes, he replied, still angry, but the others didn’t come, and in his anger he vowed to “take care of them” next time he sees them.
“Oh, sir,” I said, “I hope you’ll give these things to God. Please give your anger and grief to Him.” At that time the elevator arrived and our small group entered. The others kept their distance, but my heart went out to this hurting man.
I asked if the bag held his son’s belongings. “No. These things are for me. I live on the streets. My sister brought me a fresh change of clothes.”
(Grieving and homeless? Could his situation be any worse?)
Just then the elevator door opened. We were finally on the ground floor. I silently prayed asking God what I could do, should do for this man – buy him food, offer money? The man hurried off the elevator and got ahead of me. His sister was waiting for him, so I went on, saying silent prayers for him as I exited the hospital.
Tonight there is a homeless man on the streets, carrying a bag of clothes and a heart full of grief after losing his 31-year old son, whose death he witnessed when life support ended. I pray he’s in a shelter with people to help him through this difficult time.
My problems seem so small.
All I could do was pray, but I trust God will make good on my prayers.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4